Neil Jenkins says Rome showdown with Italy will be 'very tight'
Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins expects the match with Italy in Rome on Saturday to be decided by just a few points.
Last Updated: 22/02/13 2:11pm
Jenkins, who played against the Azzurri at the Stadio Olimpico in 1996 before Italy were admitted to the Six Nations, says trips to Rome have become increasingly difficult over the years.
Italy opened this year's tournament with a stunning 23-18 win over France, before a disappointing defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield.
Jenkins said: "All our games in Rome have been decided by very tight margins and I don't see this one being any different.
"They had a fantastic victory here against France three weeks ago and we're expecting a very hard game."
And Jenkins believes Italy have improved enormously since he was part of the team that "scraped" a win over Italy in 1996.
"We have always found it very tough against Italy. They have certainly developed as a team over recent years, and they play a pretty good offloading game now, too.
"The second try they scored against France, from a turnover on their own line and finished by Martin Castrogiovanni, was especially good. It was a fantastic team try."
Rain is expected on Saturday, but Jenkins says it will be up to the Welsh to impose their game on Italy.
"We'll have to wait and see what the weather brings but we'll try to bring our own style," he said.
"We certainly like to play with ball in hand, but we also like to play in the right areas of the pitch, we hope that will be the case on Saturday.
"We trained pretty well this morning (Friday). We just hope the momentum will build from Paris."
Fellow assistant coach Robin McBryde says the Italians will miss banned skipper Sergio Parisse: "They have only won game without him, which tells you all you need to know.
"He is a big player for them both in defence and attack. It will be interesting to see how Italy cope.
"That said, they have still got a big No 8 in Manoa Vosawai. He's going to be pose a different type of threat at the scrum and line-out."